Friday, 25 July 2008

London Heritage Pubs

A couple of much needed dry days means I can catch up on some reading. Just published by CAMRA books is "London Heritage Pubs - An Inside Story" - a definitive guide book to London's most unspoilt pubs. Geoff Brandwood and Jane Jephcote are the most knowledgeable people I have ever met regarding London's pub heritage. They have both spent over 7 years researching this book and I am most impressed with the fruits of their labour.

Although this type of book has been published many times previously and many of the pubs included are regularly covered, this book is the only one that covers ALL of London's 150 pubs left with unspoilt interiors. It is packed with photos and the text definitely brings forth the authors' passion for the subject.

The book includes well drawn maps making a crawl of some of the pubs very easy. There are the usual features as fillers and even these are well written and informative. There are small pieces on local history away from the pubs which I found somewhat superfluous but overall it is an excellent read, lavishly illustrated and a very usable guide.

In the summary of the future the book states "We believe that with a combination of awareness by the public and pub owners on one hand and local authority vigilance on the other, the pubs listed here should have a bright and long-lived future without damaging change."

Famous last words ! The ink is not dry on this book before the first planning application has been submitted on one of its entries. The Hare and Hounds in East Sheen, SW14 (which coincidentally is my local) has a refurbishment planned by owners Young's which will remove the 1930's separate public bar described in the book as a remarkable survival.

There are 150 of London's most unspoilt pubs in the book. There will be a fight to save the Hare and Hounds public bar but almost certainly we will be left with 149.

More information of London's pub heritage can be found at CAMRA's London Pubs Group.

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